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AMD Ryzen 5 1500X (4C8T) CPU Review

Rating: 8.5.

Ryzen 5 1500X is AMD’s fastest quad-core based on the new Zen architecture. Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT) makes this a four-core, eight-thread part that runs at an out-of-the-box frequency of 3.5-3.7GHz, with single-threaded boosts to 3.9GHz under Extended Frequency Range (XFR) conditions.

Priced at $189 and shipping with the Wraith Spire cooler, AMD pits overclockable Ryzen 5 4C8T parts against multiplier-locked Core i5 processors from Intel. Logical competitors to the Ryzen 5 1500X are Intel’s Kaby Lake Core i5-7400 and Core i5-7500, depending on e-tailer pricing in the UK.

AMD deploys the 4C8T Ryzen 5 1500X CPU as a design utilising dual CPU Complex (CCX) units. This gives the quad-core part a 2+2 design, as opposed to the asymmetrical 3+1 or 4+0 deployments that may have been theoretically possible. The balanced 2+2 design could mean that AMD is able to use Ryzen CCXs that don’t make the grade with all four cores enabled (or three cores that would form Ryzen 5 six-core chips).

Other characteristics for the Ryzen 5 1500X are interesting as they distinguish it from the lower-cost quad-core 1400. The full slab of shared L3 cache is retained for the 1500X, with 8MB per CCX being available. That gives an effective 4MB of L3 cache per core (though not dedicated) that is double the available per-core capacity of Ryzen 7 and even higher than Intel’s HEDT processors. L2 cache capacity is still 512KB per core, making the total amount 2MB.

Operating frequencies are also interesting for Ryzen 1500X. The base speed is 3.5GHz, with a maximum Precision Boost speed of 3.7GHz under 2-core loading conditions. That means that all-core loads see the chip running at a solid 3.6GHz. Noteworthy, though, is the 200MHz XFR headroom – double that we have seen on any other Ryzen processors to date. This gives the 1500X an ability to clock up to 3.9GHz under single-thread loads. As with all Ryzen parts, an unlocked core ratio multiplier with 0.25x granularity allows for overclocking on supported motherboards.

AMD’s well-balanced Wraith Spire is included with the 65W TDP 1500X. This model is, however, different to the Wraith Spire supplied with Ryzen 7 1700 as it does not feature RGB lighting. For reference, Intel’s boxed Core i5 CPUs in this price range also ship with coolers.

CPU AMD Ryzen 5 1600X AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AMD Ryzen 5 1500X AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Intel Core i5-7600K Intel Core i5-7400 Intel Core i3-7350K
CPU Codename Zen Zen Zen Zen Kaby Lake Kaby Lake Kaby Lake
Core / Threads
6 / 12 6 / 12 4 / 8 4 / 8 4 / 4 4 / 4 2 / 4
CCX Config 3+3 3+3 2+2 2+2 n/a n/a n/a
Base Frequency 3.6GHz 3.2GHz 3.5GHz 3.2GHz 3.8GHz 3.0GHz 4.2GHz
Boost Frequency 4.0GHz 3.6GHz 3.7GHz 3.4GHz 4.2GHz 3.5GHz n/a
Maximum Frequency 4.1GHz (100MHz XFR) 3.7GHz (100MHz XFR) 3.9GHz (200MHz XFR) 3.45GHz (50MHz XFR) n/a n/a n/a
Unlocked Core Multiplier Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x1 granularity) No Yes (x1 granularity)
Total Cache 16MB L3 + 3MB L2 16MB L3 + 3MB L2 16MB L3 + 2MB L2 8MB L3 + 2MB L2 6MB L3 + 1MB L2 6MB L3 + 1MB L2 4MB L3 + 0.5MB L2
PCIe Lanes 16+4+4 16+4+4 16+4+4 16+4+4 16 16 16
CPU Socket AM4 AM4 AM4 AM4 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151
Manufacturing Process 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm
TDP 95W 65W 65W 65W 91W 65W 60W
CPU Cooler n/a Wraith Spire (no LED) Wraith Spire (no LED) Wraith Stealth (no LED) n/a Intel E97379-003 (Al slug) n/a
MSRP $249 $219 $189 $169 $242 $182 $168-179
UK Street Price £249.99 £219.99 £189.99 £169.99 Approx. £230 Approx. £170 Approx. £170

On the face of it, Ryzen 5 1500X looks to be worthy of its $20 premium over the 1400 thanks to higher frequencies, double the L3 cache, and a better included cooler.

Prime competition on the Intel side comes from multiplier-locked Core i5-7500 and Core i5-7400 processors, depending on selling prices in retailers. They are quad-core Kaby Lake parts without any form of additional multi-threading.

For more information regarding Ryzen and the AM4 platform, read our launch review for the Ryzen 7 1800X HERE. You can also read our Ryzen 7 1700 review HERE and the Ryzen 7 1700X review HERE.

For further analysis regarding the platform and chipset capabilities of Ryzen and AM4, you can read our Ryzen 5 1600X coverage.

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